located in the Historic District, the building which
serves as the Evans Tinsmith Shop was originally located
on the Princeton Plantation in Northampton County.
This one story, single room, old Post Office building
was moved to its current site in the late 1990s.
Around 1877 or 1878, Richard Evans,
a tinsmith from Petersburg, Virginia, came to Murfreesboro
and opened a tin shop in a building near the corner
of College and Main Streets.
Richard conducted businesses there until
he died in 1905. Richard’s son, John, continued
operating the shop for more than 60 years following
his father’s death.
The tin shop tools and fixtures were
subsequently inherited by John’s daughters,
Elva and Rachel. They, in turn, generously donated
the entire collection to the Murfreesboro Historical
It is unusual to find a collection as complete as
this one, and it is probably one of the best in the
Southeast. The original patterns, in particular, are
very extensive; for example, there are patterns for
a variety of coffee and tea pots, including bodies,
spouts and handles. Also, there are patterns for scoops
in six sizes, and each in three parts – body,
handle and gusset (soldered to the handle and body
to stiffen the handle).
The bulk of the tools are from the 1860s
and 1880s on up to the early twentieth century. Early
in the period, shops of this kind produced primarily
utilitarian items such a kitchenware. Later, the shop
turned out piping for wood burning stoves and also
installed roofing. There are tools here for all of
these activities. The large number and range of roofing
tools indicates that a crew of men was involved.
of tools is certainly one of the most comprehensive
I have ever seen,” stated Tom Cowan, of the
Old Salem Education Department.